Tribute to a woman of substance

The late Barbara Fortuin.

Brenda Kleinschmidt, Retreat

Barbara Fortuin, 88, from Steenberg passed away on Wednesday June 26 after a battle with cancer.

She lived in her home in Strauss Avenue, Retreat and did a lot of good deeds that meant a lot to the people she came into contact with.

By profession, Barbara was a qualified nursing sister. She worked at Groote Schuur Hospital and the Silvertown clinic among other institutions. Her last position before she retired at age 70 in 2001 was at Glendale Home for Jewish Handicapped in Bergvliet.

Barbara was knowledgeable and proficient in the important area of nutrition of babies and young children.

Among many boards she was invited to sit on, during the 1990s she joined the Administration Board of Alpha School for Autistic Children in Woodstock. At that time, autism, a developmental disorder, wasn’t well-known and she would always stress that we must do our very best in our deliberations and decisions that will affect the lives of these vulnerable children.

Barbara was a very courageous person and no shrinking violet in expressing herself, her views and working for a cause she believed in.

Barbara did not seek the limelight. She was a charming and an attractive person, always positive. She would readily compliment and make people feel special. In my opinion, her life can best be described as a life of service. She did not seek accolades. She always did what she felt needed to be done. She was a true Christian, embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ in the way she conducted her life. Hers was a life well-lived in the spirit of Ubuntu. Our late friend was a champion of the underdog, truly an unsung hero of the Cape Flats.

About 20 years ago, she also received two Rotary awards for her community and humanitarian work among the underprivileged in her community.

Barbara also became intensely passionate and interested in seeing that the Khoisan woman Eva Krotoa be recognised as the Mother of our Nation and have her rightful place in our history.

Barbara, a true servant of the people, community-spirited, generous of heart, kind, compassionate, loving, gracious, a charitable person who impacted the lives of many who came into contact with her. She is survived by her two sons, Neil and Shaun, daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.